FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 file photo, a bust of the Nobel Prize founder, Alfred Nobel on display at the Concert Hall during the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm. Controversy stalks the Nobel prizes for peace and literature in a way it rarely does for science. The revamped panel at the Swedish Academy who will hand out the Nobel literature prizes Thursday Oct. 10, 2019, for both 2018 and 2019 would relish arguments about the winners, rather than intrigue about the #MeToo scandal that forced the institution to suspend the prize last year. (Henrik Montgomery/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Handke win Nobel literature prizes

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By DAVID KEYTON

Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian writer Peter Handke won the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes for literature on Thursday, after a year's hiatus in awarding the prize due to sex abuse allegations that rocked the secretive Swedish Academy, which selects the laureates.

Tokarczuk won for works that explore the "crossing of boundaries as a form of life," the academy said Thursday.

Handke's work was described as exploring "the periphery and the specificity of human experience" with linguistic ingenuity.

Tokarczuk is only the 15th woman to win the Nobel literature prize in more than a century. Of the 11 Nobels awarded so far this week, all the other laureates have been men.

The literature prize was canceled last year after an exodus at the exclusive Swedish Academy, which chooses the winners, following sex abuse allegations. Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former academy member, was convicted last year of two rapes in 2011. Arnault allegedly also leaked the name of Nobel Prize literature winners seven times.

The Nobel Foundation had warned that another group could be picked to award the prize if the academy didn't improve its tarnished image, but said in March it was satisfied the Swedish Academy had revamped itself and restored trust.

The 2018 and 2019 awards were chosen by the Swedish Academy's Nobel Committee, a new body made up of four academy members and five "external specialists."

Nobel organizers say the committee suggests two names which then must be approved by the Swedish Academy. It's unclear whether the academy members simply rubber-stamped the experts' choice.

In his will, Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel specifically designated the Swedish Academy as the institution responsible for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Nobel decided the physics, chemistry and medicine should be awarded in Stockholm, and the peace prize in Oslo. His exact reasons for having an institution in Norway hand out the peace prize is unclear, but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were joined in a union, which was dissolved in 1905.

The coveted Nobel Peace Prize set to be awarded on Friday and the economics award on Monday.

Wednesday's chemistry prize went to John B. Goodenough, a German-born engineering professor at the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham, a British-American chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Japan's Akira Yoshino, of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University.

On Tuesday, Canadian-born James Peebles, 84, an emeritus professor at Princeton University, won the physics prize for his theoretical discoveries in cosmology together with Swiss scientists Michel Mayor, 77, and Didier Queloz, 53, both of the University of Geneva. The latter were honored for finding an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — that orbits a solar-type star.

A day earlier, two Americans and one British scientist — Drs. William G. Kaelin Jr. of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University and Peter J. Ratcliffe of Britain's Francis Crick Institute and Oxford University — won the prize for advances in physiology or medicine. They were cited for their discoveries of "how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability."

With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896 — in Stockholm and in Oslo.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


2 Comments
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Well-deserved recognition for two ground-breaking writers whose work transports us to an alternative reality where we can expand our minds in a world of intelligent discourse far from the madding crowd of Trump's bat-crazy "best words" and demented deplorables.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Was talking to a woman this evening who was disappointed Haruki Murakami didn't win "again". I had to go through it again with her (not specifically with HER for a second or third time, but I've explained it to numerous people over the last four or five years who think he is entitled to it) that no one knows at all who is nominated for 50 years after the fact, and there is zero reason to suspect the man would even be on the list. I love him -- I think he's a great writer and I think he's done a lot to raise awareness on how Palestinians are being treated by Israel (and did so in one case IN Israel!), and other humanitarian issues on top of said writing. Perhaps he will be nominated and maybe even win, but there is zero reason why so many people think he is constantly being nominated and losing out, or why he should win.

All that out of the way, I know of Handke's work, but not Tokarczuk. I'll have to check her out.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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